#RIC18: How TechStyle Optimizes Personalization With Continuous Testing

For most retailers, one-to-one personalization is a goal to work towards rather than an actual achievement — but TechStyle Fashion Group is an exception. The retailer, which includes the Fabletics, JustFab and ShoeDazzle brands, has succeeded in making personalization practical. At the 2018 Retail Innovation Conference, Traci Inglis, Brand President for JustFab and ShoeDazzle, shared some key statistics that chart TechStyle’s progress:

• The retailer sends unique emails to each of its 2.5 million members;
• The emails utilize dynamic one-to-one merchandising across thousands of styles, individualized based on the customer’s preferences, clicks and purchases;
Targeted subject lines highlight the customer’s first name and the email offer; and
• TechStyle personalizes the web pages members see based on their fashion and style preferences as well as their location.

Inglis revealed that TechStyle leverages multiple versions of its marketing content, with frequent use of A/B testing to gauge what’s resonating with customers. The company has created its own in-house digital media buying agency, as well as an internal team for creating its TV commercials, with the studio located within company headquarters.


“We will do a total of 24,000 versions of our advertising creatives during the year,” said Inglis during her presentation, titled: Thinking Like A Digitally Native Brand. “We will start the month with hundreds and see which ones are working, and then do 25 to 50 iterations of those. There’s never a ‘pencils down’ moment for us,” she said.

The retailer also creates as many as 1,250 iterations of its web site annually. “We test, tweak and optimize what’s on the site, but we can only do that because it’s an in-house process,” said Inglis.

TechStyle gets a head start on personalization by providing new members with a style survey that includes questions about shoe size, dress size, heel height preferences and location. “We find that more people take the survey than don’t,” said Inglis. “It allows us to personalize the very first web page that you see. If it’s February in Ohio, you’ll see boots, not sandals. If you say you don’t like high heels, you won’t see them.”

Understanding Individuals’ Shopping Frequency Boosts Conversion

One of the key data points that TechStyle uses to personalize its member communications is shopping frequency. “We have some people that shop us every single day, while there are others that are ‘wardrobers’ who shop twice a year,” said Inglis. By continuously updating each customer’s average shopping pattern, TechStyle can be more effective with its lapsed customer communications.

Most retailers send inactive customers a “we miss you” email after a set amount of time, for example six months, often with a promotional offer to stimulate a purchase. “But if someone is an every-three-months shopper and you wait six months, you’ve lost her by waiting that extra three months,” Inglis explained. “On the other hand, if she typically only shops every six months, that means you’ve wasted a promotional offer, since she was likely to return to make a purchase in any case.”

By using algorithms based on individuals’ shopping patterns to improve the timing of these communications, TechStyle was able to achieve a 22% lift for its lapsed customer campaign compared to a previous campaign.

Hungry For Data

TechStyle is determined not just to gather data but to use it. In addition to all the data gathered via email, social media and its web sites, the retailer gathers data at its brick-and-mortar Fabletics stores, then links it with online data.

In addition, “we ‘listen’ digitally,” said Inglis. “For example, we saw that one third of our customers who were encountering a cart error at checkout were bouncing. Some customers were clicking on ‘complete checkout’ as many as 10 times. These customers were trying to give us money 10 times and not succeeding!”

The issue turned out to be a fairly simple fix. The checkout interface was not bringing customers back up to the entry fields that contained incomplete or incorrect information. “By implementing this ‘bounce-up’ functionality, we saw a huge increase in conversions,” said Inglis.

TechStyle also listens in more conventional ways: “We created a ‘Meet the VIPs’ program where we invite customers to have dinner with us, in Los Angeles and other cities,” said Inglis. “We ask them questions and get amazing insights from this, from microscopic changes to the way we load our mobile site.”

Inglis’ message to other retailers that want to move closer to true personalization is simple: “Don’t be a data hoarder. Use data to create a relevant message, relevant products and relevant delivery.”

Watch a video of Inglis’ presentation here.



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